Historisch-philologischer Kommentar zur Chronik des Johannes Malalas

URI: https://agate.academy/id/PR.94

In the 6th century CE, Johannes Malalas wrote a ‘World Chronicle’ - an account of the history of Adam up to his own time. We don’t know much about the author himself, who didn’t leave any traces outside of his chronicle: he must have worked in the higher provincial administration in Antioch (today Antakya, Turkey), because he was able to make extensive use of the archival material stored there. In the 530’s he seems to have moved to the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, because the focus of his chronicle suddenly changes from Antioch to the Bosporus metropolis. In the original (not preserved) version, the chronicle probably lasted until the death of Emperor Justinian (565 CE), the present version cancels a few months before.

The ‘World Chronicle’ of the Malalas is of outstanding importance for the later medieval historiography: the following Byzantine chroniclers not only orientated themselves on its structure, but also adopted and elaborated parts of the text in many cases, so that Malalas’ work is ultimately a cornerstone of the Byzantine historiography. The chronicle, which in its first books offers biblical history, into which historical and mythological traditions of the antiquity are woven, deals in increasing detail with the Roman Empire after the Roman royal period, the history of Alexander and his successors and the reign of Augustus, with a focus on the decades that the author himself has experienced: the reign of the emperors Anastasios (491-518), Justin I. (518-527) and Justinian (527-565). Especially for the 6th century this historical work is a fundamental source document, but it also provides important information for older periods.

The ‘World Chronicle’ of Johannes Malala has not yet been sufficiently researched. It is the task of the project  to close this gap. The project focuses on the elaboration of a comprehensive philological-historical commentary on the chronicle; at the same time, the text is to be analysed, located and brought to a better understanding by means of special individual investigations. Thus the project also serves the purpose of significantly expanding our knowledge of late antiquity and early Byzantine historiography.


Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17
E-Mail: sebastian.zwies@akademienunion.de

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